St. Thomas' Christmas Concert to Celebrate Its 25th Year Dec. 2

A St. Thomas tradition spanning more than two decades will be performed at the Minneapolis Convention Center this year due to construction at its previous home, Orchestra Hall.

St. Thomas will present its 25th annual Christmas concert, Venite Adoremus, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. This year's theme is taken from “O Come All Ye Faithful,” which has been sung at each concert by the audience and student ensembles.

Tickets are available online through the Minnesota Orchestra Box Office or by phone at (612) 371-5656. All seats are $15 plus a nominal Orchestra Hall transaction fee. There is no limit to the number of tickets that may be purchased. Please note: The concert is open to adults and children over 6.

A total of 200 $5-tickets, courtesy of STAR, will be available to undergraduate students at Tommie Central, located on the first floor of Anderson Student Center. Free bus transportation for undergraduate students also will be provided to the Minneapolis Convention Center by Undergraduate Student Government.

The concert, with a program of choral and instrumental music for the Advent and Christmas seasons, features more than 300 student performers in eight of the university’s vocal and instrumental ensembles: Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Festival Choir, Liturgical Choir, Women’s Choir, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Brass Choir and Handbell Choir.

Dr. Angela Broeker, director of choral activities, noted a unique addition to this year's concert: “Our choirs welcome Sowah Mensah, master drummer from Ghana, to our concert this year. Choirs will sing two of Sowah's compositions as he and his students accompany us on indigenous instruments."

Broeker said concert-goers also will be treated to the best in sacred music for the season, "including 'Silent Night,' 'Lo' How a Rose E'er Blooming,' 'In the Bleak Midwinter,' 'O Come All Ye Faithful,' as well as new compositions for the Advent and Christmas season."

All concert proceeds will benefit St. Thomas music ensembles’ international performance tours.

History of the concert: St. Thomas’ Christmas concert quickly became tradition after its first performance on Dec. 11, 1988, in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on the university’s main campus in St. Paul. St. Thomas’ president at the time, the late Monsignor Terrence Murphy, envisioned a campus concert of Christmas music featuring ensembles from the coordinate departments of music from St. Thomas and St. Catherine. By 1993 the growing Music Department at St. Thomas had become independent, and the university’s Alumni Association began to note the concert in its mailings. An extraordinary number of alumni and their families responded, necessitating an additional performance.

By 1997, four performances were held on campus, but still, some 2,000 ticket requests could not be honored. In 2007, the concert was moved to Orchestra Hall to accommodate the many for whom the concert has become a Christmas calendar fixture: university students, faculty, staff and alumni of St. Thomas and their families and friends. And the public is welcome, too.